Monday, April 20, 2015

Steve Klepetar - Dynasties of the Dead / Keeper of the Flame

Dynasties of the Dead

“Everywhere plants
Flourish among graves.

Sinking their roots
In all the dynasties
Of the dead.”

                Seamus Heaney

The dead gather
in April chill.

Their kings chatter
beneath Black Maple
as ranks gather by Ground Plum

and Pussytoes.
By now the earth

is soft and wet
and filled with worms.
The dead have eyes made of rain,

they have fingers
formed of mud and twigs.

Some kneel by  Kittentails
or run bruised palms
over white-leaved Rock Cress

or Bittercress
or parasitic Mistletoe.

Sleet whispers through
the trees, falls
silently on Leatherleaf

and purple
Jeweled Shooting Star.
How sweet, this gathering

of clans, all the dynasties
of the dead, as wildflowers flourishing
among graves call them home to the cold north.

Keeper of the Flame

Today she keeps the flame, it’s her
responsibility, her gift. The men
set out on snowshoes, thudding

through birch and pine toward
Gracie’s lake, where many years ago
a woman from a cabin on the hill

drowned herself and left her name,
a curse, then later just a place where
chickadees sing and the north wind

tosses late winter snow. She’s
swept the hearth, baked a dozen
loaves. Stew bubbles in a kettle on

the stove. Her eyes feel red and sore.
She has followed through the cold on
her cape of wind. She stares into the fire

where goblins wait, green-blue faces,
black eyes peering through orange heat,
laughing in the crackle of logs and sparks and smoke.

Steve Klepetar’s work received three nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net in 2014.  Recent collections include: Speaking to the Field Mice (Sweatshoppe Publications), Blue Season (with Joseph Lisowski, mgv2>publishing), My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto (Flutter Press) and Return of the Bride of Frankenstein, (Kind of a Hurricane Press).

1 comment:

  1. "The dead have eyes made of rain..." How can anyone NOT love that line? :D